Zucchini-onion tian & zucchini salad









Zucchini glut and how to cope

Every year there is the inevitable zucchini glut and even if we are far away from my Mum’s garden to be regular recipients of said glut our weekly veg box can be trusted to contain some sort of courgette (aka zucchini or squash). So, time to hastily add a few zucchini recipes that require minimum effort and work since leisure time for lengthy prep or delicate tweezer action suddenly has become a rare luxury in this house, wonder why…

First a simple zucchini and onion tian, a Provençal gratin where I veer away (just a little) from tradition by arranging the vegetable slices in a fan rather than fitting them snug upright in the namesake earthenware dish. It looks pretty and shortens the cooking time considerably – these days a necessary requirement of any dish we’ll have. Thyme adds its irresistible resin perfume reminiscent of the Provençal hills and makes this a great side dish to lamb (little cumin coated lamb brochettes are my latest favourite) or a grilled fish like sea bass.

Secondly, a light summer salad and absolute of mine: thin zucchini slices in a lemony dressing. Even when made ahead of time zucchini keep a firmer texture and some bite unlike the similar tasting cucumber would. I shave long ribbons of small green and yellow courgettes (no big squashes here) with a mandolin or vegetable peeler and dress these courgette pappardelle quite simply with lemon juice, oil, salt & pepper. You can’t get a lighter but substantial salad that lends itself to any main dish, said lamb brochettes again a firm contender these days. The recipe for those should come soon (hopefully) but I’ll have to make them again since I am much too greedy hungry these days and wolf anything down in record time (in the spirit of ‘Eating-while-it’s-hot’).



zucchini-onion tian

Zucchini-onion tian

Feeds 2-3 people as a side dish. Loosely after Stéphane Reynaud.


2-3 medium Zucchini
3 small onions
a few sprigs of thyme
olive oil
salt & pepper


Preheat the oven to 180°C / 375° F.

Cut zucchini into 5mm rounds, onions into slightly thinner slices. Arrange alternately in an ovenproof dish big enough to have a slanting fan of zucchini & onion slices rather than them being tightly packed like a roll of coins. Place thyme sprigs in the gaps, sprinkle with a generous splash of olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Bake for about 20-30 minutes until the vegetables are cooked and slightly browned around the edges.





Zucchini salad


Thin green & yellow courgettes / zucchini
lemon juice
olive oil
salt & pepper


Shave thin slices of zucchini / courgettes with a mandolin or vegetable peeler and dress with lemon juice, olive oil, salt & pepper to taste.




Deutsche Rezepte:

Zwei Zucchinigerichte um der reichen Zucchiniernte Herr zu werden. Beide, ein leckeres Gratin und ein frischer Salat, schmecken sehr gut zu kleinen Lammspießchen, deren Rezept (hoffentlich) bald hier erscheint.


courgette-onion gratin


Für ca. 2-3 Personen als Beilage. Inspiriert von Stéphane Reynaud


2-3 mittelgroße Zucchini
3 kleine Zwiebeln
einige Zweiglein Thymian
Salz & Pfeffer


Backofen auf 180°C vorheizen.

Zucchini in dicke Scheiben schneiden, die Zwiebeln etwas dünner. Abwechselnd in einer ofenfesten Form fächerartig schichten (und nicht wie üblich für eine Tian diese dicht an dicht wie eine Rolle Münzen). Thymianzweige in die Zwischenräume legen, großzügig mit Olivenöl beträufeln und mit Salz & Pfeffer würzen. 20-30 Minuten backen bis das Gemüse gegart ist und an den Rändern leicht gebräunt ist.






Dünne grüne & gelbe Zucchini
Salz & Pfeffer


Die Zucchini in dünne Scheiben hobeln (geht am besten mit einer Mandoline, aber auch einem Gemüsehobel oder –schäler) und mit Zitronensaft, Olivenöl, Salz & Pfeffer anmachen.



Purple sprouting broccoli with anchovy sauce









The beginning of a new year always seems to call for some sort of detox, cleanse or diet (or all three together) and generally imposing on us an imperative to repent for our ‘sins’ aka holiday excesses. This requires some will for martyrdom and in most cases sets one up for failure within a few days anyway. A big part of the phenomenon called French paradox is the absence of regret and the ability to savour (and indulge in) the food without fretting constantly. So, why not leave all the guilt where it belongs and just eat a few more greens? Especially when those greens are purple sprouting broccoli and come with this wonderfully assertive dipping sauce that is reminiscent of bagna cauda and gentleman’s relish. Continue reading

Zucchini pickles









Here’s what to do with the rest of the zucchini glut (self-inflicted, harvested or otherwise acquired), should you by chance having any kicking around your house or a few pounds leftover from last weeks lunch. These pickled zucchini are not mouth-puckering vinegary, they are savoury with a lingering note of distilled herbs and Indian spices, have a subtle sourness and just a whisper of sweetness – think of them as something along the lines of sweet & sour Indian bread-and-butter pickles. Imagine how good they will be with cooked ham, on a sandwich (oh, I should make pastrami), as a side to a cheese platter. Certainly will they be fantastic with turkey & chicken and provide an extra flavour-layer to the great noodle / rice / quinoa / farro bowls that we all will be eating for lunch now that the days are getting shorter.

In all their turmeric glory, they look pretty stunning, don’t they? The yellow, green & red just pop and bring back the summer colours when you get a jar out later in the year. Surely, they will liven up the darkest and dankest of days with their cheery colours and warm aromatic spices. The zucchini pickles are not spicy at all, so feel free to add a few chillies to cover that if you are so inclined. Continue reading

Chilled pea shooter + Green peas with pea shoots










Just back from a little rest (aka bask in the short bout of summer sunshine and blissfully doing nothing much except enjoying myself) and finally getting this out, I can’t say why but it lingered a bit while I had to get on with a few other things – one is a guest post about a fresh & crunchy chickpea salad with cucumber, tomato & peppers – perfect for a bbq, picnic or weeknight summer supper –  at / on / for my friend Jeanette’s Surf Cook blog.

Basically a two-in-one recipe for an elegant-rustic but super simple side dish and a vitamin packed chilled green shot or – here comes the pun – shooter. I’ll throw in some near-instant gratification gardening (grow your own pea shoots in 10 days!), which makes the whole thing extremely satisfying and ultra-local: window sill to table. Continue reading

Pea shoot salad with bacon wrapped chèvre

Pea shoot salad with chèvre

Make honey-rosemary goats cheese for a meat-free version, see note in recipe below. Deutsches Rezept unten.


I am still totally amazed how much a salad leaf can taste of peas, well that sounds odd but you know what I mean. Wispy pea shoots with their tender tendrils do not only look absolutely pretty, their fine taste is a surprise as well and makes them a great addition to any mixture of salad leaves.

A total stickler for old(-fashioned) or forgotten foods, I am happy to come across some things on the local farmers markets or the great abundance of the Frankfurt Kleinmarkthalle but others, I have to grow myself. I miss having a garden every season but especially in spring when everything around suddenly bursts into green growth and you see your plants progress. I grew up in a garden, my grandfather’s garden to be accurate, where I spend all of my childhood. My grandfather picked me up from Kindergarten every day on his bicycle and after lunch he, my grandmother Anni & I went to the garden. We dug, sowed tiny seeds for carrots into neat rills drawn into the ground with a stick, weeded the flower beds, watered the plants with a heavy, long yellow & black marked rubber hose (which looked quite like a snake), burned the cut offs in a rusty old drum and cooked the first potatoes in the fire. My swing was attached to branch of the pear tree and I happily played in the mud and needed to have a great soak & scrub down before my parents came to collect me in the evening. Paradise. I neeeeeeed a garden. Anyway, to compensate I am growing raspberries, forest strawberries & a great number of herbs and the occasional bean on our balcony. Plus the pea shoots, of course.

Pea shoot salad with chèvre

For the salad: first plant your peas! I am not kidding.

Pea shoots grow rapidly and are big enough for a salad in about 10-14 days. You can literally watch them grow which is rather great for children and very impatient people and instantaneously creates the feeling of great satisfaction that you have grown your own food (on a window ledge or flower pot). All you need are some dried green peas from the grocery store & the flower pot, window box or tiny corner of your vegetable patch. Throw a handful of peas onto the soil, press the peas with your flat hand lightly into the ground and cover with a thin sprinkling of earth (1cm or ½ inch). Water and keep the soil moist from now on every day. Tadaa! As I said, you will be able to watch them grow and within a fortnight harvest your first pea shoots & tendrils when they have reached about 5-7cm or over 2 inches. Can’t eat them all? Grow them a few days more into robust little stems of 15-20cm for stir-fried pea shoots.

Clearly, this is a brilliant vegetarian salad / starter / appetizer if you leave the bacon and drizzle the creamy goats cheese rounds with a little honey & a few rosemary needles and give it a quick broil in the oven. Mhmhm, feeling hungry already.




Pea shoot salad with bacon wrapped chèvre

Makes a lunch main course for one; also a great starter for a menu: increase salad and figure one goats cheese per person (or more for hungry people)

a handful of pea shoots (about 20 sprigs)
baby spinach & other salad leaves
¼ yellow bell pepper, diced
2 tablespoons cooked broad beans
a few radishes, thinly sliced
a small shallot, finely chopped
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon white balsamic or cider vinegar
3 tablespoons hazelnut oil
salt & pepper
2 small rounds of creamy goats cheese (chèvre)
2 rashers of streaky bacon (not too thick cut)
4 rosemary needles
a tiny spritz of olive oil


Preheat the oven to 180°C (350° F) or use the grill / broiler.

Arrange all the salad ingredients on a plate or platter. Make the vinaigrette from mustard, vinegar, oil, salt & pepper.

Wrap the goats cheeses in bacon, cross-wise is best and stick a few rosemary needles into the parcels. Heat an ovenproof pan over a medium-hot heat, add a tiny bit of olive oil to prevent sticking and fry the bacon wrapped goats cheeses on both flat sides until the bacon is lightly browned. Place your pan into the oven or under the grill to quickly cook the rest of the bacon before the cheese melts (a little melting is ok & definitely wanted). For the vegetarian version place the cheeses in an ovenproof dish, drizzle with a little honey and a few chopped rosemary needles and broil or grill swiftly for the same result (warmed cheeses but not totally melted). Place onto your salad, drizzle with vinaigrette and serve with a few slices of ficelle or baguette.



Salat mit Erbsensprossen und in Speck gewickelter Ziegenkäse

Für einen Salat zum Mittag oder auch eine tolle Vorspeise: dafür nur die Salatmenge erhöhen und eventuell nur einen Ziegenkäse pro Person einplanen (hungrige Leute bekommen zwei)

1 Handvoll Erbsensprossen (ca. 20 Stengel, einfache Pflanzanleitung: Erbsen pflanzen, mit dünner Schicht Erde bedecken, wässern, nach 10-14 Tagen 5cm große Sprossen ernten)
Baby Spinat & andere Salatblätter
¼ gelbe Paprika, gewürfelt
2 EL gekochte & gepalte Saubohnen
ein paar Radieschen, dünn gehobelt
1 kleine Schalotte, fein gewürfelt
1 TL Dijonsenf
1 EL weißer Balsamico oder Apfelessig
3 EL Haselnussöl
Salz & Pfeffer
2 kleine cremige Ziegenkäsetaler (chèvre)
2 Scheiben Bacon oder Frühstücksspeck (nicht zu dünn)
4 Rosmarinnadeln
ein wenig Olivenöl


Backofen auf 180°C vorheizen oder den Grill benutzen.

Die Salatzutaten auf einem Teller oder einer Platte arrangieren und die Vinaigrette aus Senf, Essig, Öl, Salz & Pfeffer zubereiten.

Die Ziegenkäse jeweils kreuzweise mit einer Scheibe Bacon umwickeln und Rosmarinnadeln in die Päckchen stecken. Etwas Olivenöl in eine ofenfeste Pfanne geben und die Käse bei mittlerer Hitze von beiden flachen Seiten leicht bräunlich braten. Dann die Pfanne in den Ofen oder unter den Grill geben um den restlichen Speck zu garen. Dabei sollte der Käse nicht völlig schmelzen (ein leichte Schmelze ist aber durchaus erwünscht). Für eine vegetarische Version die Käse mit etwas Honig und Rosmarin bestreuen und in einer ofenfesten Form gleich im Ofen erwärmen oder kurz unter den Grill platzieren. Die warmen Käse sofort auf den Salat geben, mit der Vinaigrette beträufeln und mit Ficelle oder Baguette servieren.